LILEI

Lilei was born in 1965, Shanghai, China. He is the vice-chairman of Shanghai Young Artists Association and a member of Chinese Artists Association. He works and lives in Shanghai now.

Art as I believe is a creative process that has no beginning or end. It is a universal language that has been a part of our humanity since the first cave drawings that have been discovered in different countries around the world. The animal drawings in these caves are not just a historical document for future generations but rather a reflection of the spirituality of these artists that felt compelled to pick up a stone and begin to draw on the walls of where they lived. The need to express our spirituality is ancient and goes beyond food and shelter. The language of art is therefore organic, a deep part of our nature, and ultimately driven by the spirituality of the individual artist.

What the artist feels about who he or she is and the role they play in the life that surrounds them as they transform invisible concepts like thought, feeling, and emotion into visible interpretations is the outward statement of the ancient creative process. What appears as in my case on the canvas is what the artist is feeling, and expressing in terms of technique and also in terms of spirituality.The role of the artist and art is therefore to communicate in a language that is universal to all human beings. It is a language of association, of humanity, of commonality that goes beyond the boundaries of space and time. The connection between the artist, the canvas, and the audience is the basic message of our humanity and universal statement of our spirituality.

We can see this universal connection in the great art works that surround us whether in a score of music by Chopin or a painting by Rothko. Art survives because it touches all of us in different and yet fundamental ways. The language of art, the rhythm, the tone, the color and subject matter are universal and therefore move us in different ways. How is it when listen to great symphony, a jazz quartet or look at a simple charcoal line meandering on a canvas we are moved to great feelings of sadness or joy? Despite the differences in how each one of us interprets or is moved by each piece of music or art, we are nonetheless moved. We cannot remain indifferent because of the nature of our humanity and spirituality.

Art for me is not a premeditated process. I do not approach my paintings with an initial drawing or a sketch of what the end result is going to be. Instead I approach each piece with a desire to express a feeling or a message that is deep inside me. This message is not really my own possession or making but one that comes to me from the divine. This yearning is in my spirit and it pulls me to the canvas. I can see this yearning in the far away distance and begin my paintings by working towards achieving it, making it real, and visible through explorations on the canvas. These explorations are a combination of time, paint, material, color, line, form and texture. All these elements combine to help me develop the final piece and hence the end of this single journey.

The element of time is prevalent is my work. This is unavoidable. Each piece is not an isolated creative element that is static in a point of time. Rather each piece is a developmental process that takes place over various periods of time. I bring to each piece the elements of the day-to-day life that I experience as a husband, a father, a son and the life around me with its friendships, joys and challenges. Each piece therefore varies in its development and reflects an interaction between my spiritual and physical world at different points of time in my life. I sometime begin a work and finish it in a few hours and other times the piece might take much, much longer until I can say the journey has been completed.

Color for me is part of the organic nature of art. I like to use the color palette and I am not partial to a single color or texture for that matter. Red per example is a very powerful color that covers a broad duality of the human experience. Red can express, love, passion, anger and violence. At the same time red is the color of warmth, energy, security and blood, which is the life force. The complexity of color adds another dimension to art. All artists have to deal with the colors that they want to use and in which tone. Color can compel an artist to make choices that might have to be changed over time to truly come closer to expressing what they want to say. There is a permanence to color selection that is only finite when the piece is finished. When the message is complete. I use color to convey the message that I want to express at that point in time and therefore do not restrict my palette.

I can say that there are times when I see the colors of my compositions before I actually begin painting. Sometimes the colors are feelings and I work towards expressing that feeling through color. Other times the colors are quite clear in my mind and instantly appear to me. The statement I want to make through color can vary with the feeling that I want to express. The means then becomes an important part of the message along with the color that I use. The size and type of brush, the mediums, my fingers, thinness and thickness are all part of the process that bring me closer to expressing the final concept which is the end of my journey.

My paintings are not narratives and do not convey a direct message. My paintings are not still lifes, natural scenery, or portraits. My paintings are abstractions and therefore open to various interpretations and meanings. I do not give or provide a meaning to my work for someone to interpret. I do not believe it is my place to perhaps dictate a meaning to my work. Rather it is up to viewer to interact with each piece and discover his personal meaning. This is the spiritual connection between the artist and his audience.

HONG Acrylic on canvas 150x100cm, 2001

 

 

 

 

 

HONG Acrylic on canvas 150x100cm, 2001

 

 

 

 

 

 

HONG Acrylic on canvas 150x100cm, 2001

Paintings
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